Column: Colleges students who support campus carry want their voices heard

Rebekah Hargrove is president of Students for Concealed Carry at Florida State University. Submitted photo

Rebekah Hargrove is president of Students for Concealed Carry at Florida State University. Submitted photo


Published: Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at 2:08 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, August 18, 2015 at 2:08 p.m.

During most discussions about concealed carry on colleges campuses, the voices of students who support gun rights and want a means to defend themselves are usually missing, according to Rebekah Hargrove a graduate student at Florida State University.

Hargrove is president of the Students For Concealed Carry at Florida State University.

Once she earns her Master’s degree, she plans to continue at FSU toward a PhD in a public health-related field, such as bio-terrorism, and then go to work for the Centers for Disease Control.

Yep, she’s sharp as a tack.

Born in Connecticut but raised in Sarasota, the 22-year-old grew up with guns, shooting with her family.

Hargrove and her friends who support the Second Amendment, “Just want to be treated like everyone else around town,” she said.

“We want the right to defend ourselves,” she said. “The instant we decided to go and get an education, we lost that right.”

Her Students for Concealed Carry at FSU has around 100 members, including some who are under 21 and not yet old enough for a Florida Concealed Carry License.

“They want the right to defend themselves on their 21st birthday, so they support what we’re doing,” she said.

The whole campus-carry “debate” is chock-full of myths and misunderstanding, she said.

“The biggest misconception — that we’re not responsible enough for concealed carry — that’s the biggest!” she said. “They act like the ‘stress’ of college life will lead to a shooting spree, or that we’ll threaten a prof. If we are so irresponsible, or criminals, would we be following the law that prohibits us from concealed carry?”

Hargrove pointed out that eight states already allow campus carry. “There have been zero incidents,” she said.

I asked her how safe she feels going to class every day in a very well publicized gun free zone.

“I don’t think it’s a gun free zone,” she said. “There are criminals that carry guns. There are already guns on campus in the hands of people with bad intent,” she said.

The campus carry movement is picking up more support. On Monday, The Congress of Racial Equality, Inc. sent a letter to every member of the Florida legislature announcing their support. CORE is a New York nonprofit corporation founded in 1942, with its national headquarters in Harlem, New York City.

— If we don’t run into each other at the range, you can reach me at (941) 284-8553, by email at or by regular mail, 1741 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You also can follow me on social media at or


About Author

Lee Williams can’t remember a time in his life when he wasn’t shooting. Before becoming a journalist, Lee served in the Army and worked as a police officer. He’s earned more than a dozen journalism awards as a reporter, and three medals of valor as a cop. He is an NRA-certified law enforcement firearms instructor, an avid tactical shooter and a training junkie. When he’s not busy as a senior investigative reporter, he is usually shooting his AKs, XDs and CZs. If you don’t run into him at a local gun range, you can reach him at 941.284.8553, by email, or by regular mail to 1777 Main St., Sarasota, FL 34236. You can follow him on Twitter: @HT_GunWriter and on Facebook @The Gun Writer.


  1. “The instant we decided to go and get an education, we lost that right.”

    No, Rebekah, you just need to leave it at home when you enter “sensitive places such as schools or government buildings” (DC v Heller 2008).

    It was really never intended as some sacrosanct individual right:

    “No student shall, within the precincts of the University, introduce, keep or use weapons or arms of any kind, or gun-powder; nor keep a servant, horse or dog.”

    JAMES MADISON, Rector [and Author of the Second Amendment]
    December, 1826
    Enactments by the Rector and Visitors of The University of Virginia, For Constituting, Governing And Conducting That Institution. Chapter VI. Police.

    Maybe before you get to CDC you’ll learn to let data drive your decision-making:

    Florida state homicide rate (2002-2013) / gun toter zones: 5.6 / 100,000
    Florida campus homicide rate (2002-2013) / gun-free zones: 0.15 / 100,000

    Students on Florida’s gun-free campuses are literally 37 times less likely to be killed than are other Floridians. And 10 times less likely to be the victim of a violent crime overall. Gun-free zones work.

  2. What is more telling about why you need a means to protect yourself on college campuses is contained in this email from the University of Florida Police Department–

    —–Original Message—–
    From: UF Public Safety [mailto:UF-ALERT-GAINESVILLE@LISTS.UFL.EDU] On Behalf Of UF Public Safety
    Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2015 12:53 AM
    Subject: UF Alert

    1 of 2 Armed robbery occurred at 1400 W University 3 black males in hoodies one armed with a gun—
    This is not an isolated incident but UF’s dirty little secret–their gun free zone is a thug magnet–making this type of email blast a common occurrence. Put every parent on this email list and see how long opposition to campus carry continues.

    This alert better highlights the need FOR concealed carry far better than purposely altered statistics that have been debunked already.

    Rebekah is right–students are not wards of the state but citizens with second amendment rights that will not be infringed.

  3. Pingback: Florida: Florida State University Grad Student leading the fight for campus concealed carry - Dr. Rich Swier

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